Both the financial and the environmental results of the Nefco’s business activities were positive in 2020. Profit was up from the previous year due to increased lending activities and an increase in equity valuations.

Nefco only finances projects with environmental and climate-related benefits. The majority of Nefco’s investment activities are related to renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures. However, the number of projects related to resource efficiency and circular economy, as well as the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors, is on the rise. In 2020, a total of 42 projects were completed and 120 agreed, representing the organisation’s total financing activity, with a value of EUR 53 million. By the end of the year, Nefco had 381 active projects in its portfolio.

Interest income on lending increased by 33% compared with 2019, which is primarily due to a continued increase in lending over the year. The result for the year was EUR 3.6 million (EUR 1.4 million in 2019). At the end of the year, Nefco’s equity was EUR 169.6 million. In addition to its own capital, Nefco manages funds for other actors that total EUR 428.5 million.

“We are very pleased with the good results in spite of the pandemic. This provides a good basis for further investments, in line with the strategy for the next five years, which we have worked on throughout 2020,” said Trond Moe, Nefco’s Managing Director.

This work included a decision to follow the new EU Taxonomy classification in the evaluation of project proposals, in addition to Nefco’s own environmental and sustainability criteria as well as those of the individual facilities. The classification system was brought into use during the latter half of the year and will be further developed in response to changes to the Taxonomy.

Highlights from the year

  • Renewable energy was still the largest single sector within the private sector portfolio. However, Nefco saw increased activities in the resource efficiency and circular economy sector, as well as the agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors, in its private sector financing.
  • Many small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the Nordic countries have been negatively impacted by the economic consequences of the pandemic. To enable these companies to continue with their plans to expand green projects on global markets, Nefco introduced a green recovery financing programme for Nordic SMEs in November. The programme drew immediate interest and initial contracts were made in early 2021.
  • The project targets of the Nordic Project Fund (Nopef), financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers, were exceeded. A total of 33 (target 30) Nopef projects were realised through the establishment of an international business or implementation of investments. The demand for Nopef’s financing support for Nordic SMEs increased over the year and 70 (target 65) new projects were agreed.
  • Energy-efficiency measures in Eastern Europe account for the majority of the public sector project portfolio. Compared with the pre-project situation, these projects averaged 50% electricity and 38% heat energy savings, and a 63% reduction of CO2 emissions. In addition to the climate-related benefits, public energy-efficiency projects usually deliver both positive economic returns for municipalities and better comfort for their citizens.
  • The Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund continued to raise interest and received a total of 33 project applications from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. Decisions on fund allocations to these projects will be taken in early 2021. A key purpose of the fund is to facilitate and speed up the preparation of bankable green projects in the Baltic Sea catchment area.
  • Nefco also works with environmental projects in the Arctic and Barents regions. In 2020, three Arctic-related projects financed through the Arctic Council Project Support Instrument (PSI) were completed, and four Hot Spots were removed from the Barents Environmental Hot Spot list. In addition, a pilot and demonstration project for small-scale waste management in remote locations was successfully implemented in Kenozero national park in the Archangel region.
  • Nefco continued its carbon fund activities, NeCF and NorCaP, with 16 active climate projects within various sectors in seven countries. In 2020, these projects generated certified emission reductions (CERs) equivalent to 2.73 million tonnes CO2. Since their start in the early 2000s, these funds have provided a combined total of 29.5 million certified emission rights. The final operating year for these funds is 2021.
  • The Beyond the Grid Fund for Africa (BGFA) was developed into a multi-donor facility, welcoming contributions from USAID, Denmark and Germany as well as additional contributions from Sweden, the initial donor. This facility is now capitalised at EUR 78 million. The first funding round, offering EUR 30 million in results-based financing to private sector energy companies in Burkina Faso, Liberia and Zambia, was launched in September 2020.
  • Nefco and the Green Climate Fund signed Nefco’s Accreditation Master Agreement and, at the same time, the GCF Board approved Nefco’s first project for small-scale renewable electricity production in Haiti.
  • A second agreement was signed with the EU Neighbourhood Investment Platform for Energy Efficiency in small and amalgamated municipalities, supporting decentralisation and regional reform in Ukraine.

Link to the complete report. 

The new strategy, which comes into effect in 2021, has set new focus areas and revised Nefco’s environmental priorities until 2025. Nefco will launch its new strategy at an online event on 18 March. See more details at www.nefco.int/Anniversary.

For further information, please contact:

Josefin Hoviniemi, Vice President Communications, Nefco
josefin.hoviniemi@nefco.int, +358 50 464 6995

Trond Moe, Managing Director, Nefco
Trond.moe@nefco.int, +358 10 618 0662